Crap(e) Myrtles & Cushaw Squash
Crape myrtles are blooming all over the place and Leah is DISGUSTED! What’s triggering this Lagerstroemiaphobia? Perhaps it’s not about the crape myrtles, but rather the living demons of exurban hell? Next, Colleen reports on a storied gourd that vine borers can’t touch: the cushaw squash. Domesticated some time around the dawn of agriculture, the obscure cushaw took on special significance to African American foodways as a “slave food” staple. We discuss plants and memory, the merits of “folklore,” and the importance of heirloom seeds as “living archives” of cultural information. See photos of Colleen’s humongous cushaw plant and drop us a line at www.horticulturati.com. Mentioned in this episode: The Botany Coloring Book by Paul Young; The Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney; Neil Sperry on topping crape myrtles; Nandina ‘nana”; the “Pool Party Incident” of 2015; Homestead Heart (YouTube); “The Seeds of Survival” (NYT); Kathe Hambrick-Jackson, The River Road African American Museum (Louisiana); Michael W. Twitty, The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty; Farming While Black, by Leah Penniman.